Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 153, Issue 3, pp 707–723 | Cite as

Why Do Managers Leave Their Organization? Investigating the Role of Ethical Organizational Culture in Managerial Turnover

  • Maiju KangasEmail author
  • Muel Kaptein
  • Mari Huhtala
  • Anna-Maija Lämsä
  • Pia Pihlajasaari
  • Taru Feldt
Original Paper


The aim of the present longitudinal study was to quantitatively examine whether an ethical organizational culture predicts turnover among managers. To complement the quantitative results, a further important aim was to examine the self-reported reasons behind manager turnover, and the associations of ethical organizational culture with these reasons. The participants were Finnish managers working in technical and commercial fields. Logistic regression analyses indicated that, of the eight virtues investigated, congruency of supervisors, congruency of senior management, discussability, and sanctionability were negatively related to manager turnover. The results also revealed that the turnover group is not homogeneous, and that there are several different reasons for leaving. The reasons given for turnover were grouped into five different categories: (1) lay-off, (2) career challenges, (3) dissatisfaction with the job or organization, (4) organizational change, and (5) decreased well-being/motivation. ANCOVA analyses showed that those managers who stayed in their organization perceived their ethical culture to be stronger than those in turnover groups, and especially compared to groups 3 and 5. The results acquired through different methods complemented and confirmed each other, showing that by nurturing ethical virtues an organization can decrease job changes and encourage managers and supervisors to want to remain in their organization.


Managers Job change Turnover Ethical culture Corporate ethical virtues 



This paper is based on a research project supported by the Finnish Work Environment Fund (Grant No. 110104).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maiju Kangas
    • 1
    Email author
  • Muel Kaptein
    • 2
  • Mari Huhtala
    • 1
  • Anna-Maija Lämsä
    • 3
  • Pia Pihlajasaari
    • 1
  • Taru Feldt
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland
  2. 2.Rotterdam School of ManagementErasmus University RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.School of Business and EconomicsUniversity of JyväskyläJyväskyläFinland

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